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Week in Lithuania. Lietuvos Energija CEO questioned by Special Investigation Service

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Lietuvos Energija building in Vilnius

Dalius Misiūnas, chairman of the management board and CEO of the state-owned energy group Lietuvos Energija (Lithuanian Energy), on Thursday, August 31, was questioned by Special Investigation Service (STT) officials.

Misiūnas did not stop to answer questions by journalist after he left the STT building in Vilnius. He said that he had been questioned as a witness.STT informed on Thursday, August 31, that it had opened a pre-trial investigation into a suspected leaking of classified information made available to the Finance Ministry about a candidate to become a member of Lietuvos Energija’s supervisory board. The agency would not comment in more detail about the probe.

Seimas Speaker wants a Marshall plan for Ukraine

Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker of the Lithuanian parliament, and his Ukrainian counterpart discussed a proposed plan for EU financial aid for Ukraine, dubbed as «the new Marshall plan», as they met in Kiev on Thursday, August 31. The initiative was raised last year by Andrius Kubilius, a former Lithuanian prime minister, who along with Gediminas Kirkilas, another former prime minister and now deputy speaker of the Seimas, have visited major western European capitals to promote the plan.

Six bidders seek Rail Baltica section construction contract

Lithuania’s state railway company Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) has received six bids in its second attempt to select a contractor for the construction of the European-gauge railway Rail Baltica section between Kaunas and Palemonas. The bidders include a consortium of Warbud, one of Poland’s largest infrastructure construction groups, and ZEU. Warbud has renovated the Pac Palace in Vilnius, which houses the Polish embassy. The bidders also include a consortium of the French-owned road building company Eurovia Lietuva and Eurovia, Latvia’s A.C.B bidding jointly with BMGS, a consortium of Panevėžio Statybos Trestas, Panevėžio Keliai and Šiaulių Plentas, Hidrostatyba jointly with Leonhard Weiss and Autokausta, and a consortium of Geležinkelio Tiesimo Centras and Kauno Tiltai.

Three suspects nabbed in hacking probe

Three suspects were detained in Lithuania’s second-biggest city of Kaunas on Wednesday, August 30, as part of a probe into stealing of patients’ records from the cosmetic surgery clinic Grožio Chirurgija, police said on Thursday, August 31. Hackers stole personal information of the clinic’s clients and photos before and after procedures. It is suspected that the hackers demanded money from Lithuanian and foreign nationals for not making their personal data public.

 PM wants to step up fight against shadow economy

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis wants the country’s tax and law-enforcement authorities to step up their fight against the shadow economy. «The police, the Financial Crime Investigation Service, the Customs, the Tax Inspectorate — these bodies have to more substantially and actively contribute to curbing the shadow economy. Today we do not see the breakthrough we expect,» he said on a radio station on Thursday, August 31. Estimates of the size of the shadow economy in Lithuania vary between 15 per cent and 30 per cent.

 PM to seek supportfrom all political groups

With the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP) considering pulling out of the ruling coalition with the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU), Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says that he will seek support for his government’s program from all political groups in the parliament. The LFGU’s prime minister will meet with the leaders of all political groups in the Seimas by the end of next week. The parliament’s fall session will begin on Sept. 10. Gintautas Paluckas, the new LSDP leader, and the majority of the party’s branches are in favour of withdrawing from the coalition, but the Social Democrats’ political group in the Seimas and their ministers want the party to stay in government.

Seven fighters land in Lithuania ahead of Zapad drills

The United States has boosted the Baltic air policing mission as Russian and Belarus prepare to hold large-scale military exercise Zapad in September. Seven US F-15C Eagle fighter-jets landed in the Lithuanian Armed Forces’ Siauliai air base on Tuesday, the Defence Ministry informed.

Dairy companyramps up position in global market

The planned acquisition of a stake in Rokiškio Sūris by New Zealand’s dairy giant Fonterra will help the Lithuanian dairy company to expand its product range and strengthen its position in the global market, Rokiškio Sūris Chairman Dalius Trumpa said on Tuesday, August 29. Trumpa expects that Fonterra’s investment will help Rokiškio Sūris to launch new products and strengthen its position in the global dairy market.

PM backs benefits for Landsbergis, not president’s status

PM Saulius Skvernelis thinks that Lithuania’s first post-Soviet leader Vytautas Landsbergis should be granted benefits that a former head of state is entitled to by law, but not the status of a president. According to Skvernelis, Landsbergis was the head of state when he served as the speaker of the Supreme Council–Reconstituent Seimas and, therefore, should be entitled to protection and staff and office expenses. Viktoras Pranckietis, the current speaker of the Seimas, last week raised the issue of granting Landsbergis the status of a former head of state and associated benefits. He said that he was watching the situation to see if such a proposal would receive enough support in the parliament. Earlier attempts to formally recognize the status for Landsbergis fell through.

Lithuania, Portugal face similar security challenges

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė underlined after meeting with her Portuguese counterpart, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, on Tuesday, August 29, that the two NATO member states face similar challenges. Grybauskaitė thanked Portugal for its support, which she said intensified immediately after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. The president also noted that Lithuania and Portugal take a similar view to Europe’s energy policy. Both countries have built liquefied natural gas terminals. The Portuguese president stressed that the two countries usually have similar positions on key EU issues and said that Portugal understands and supports Lithuania in its concerns over nuclear energy issues.

Municipalities receive over 80 new school buses

The Lithuanian Education and Science Ministry transferred 82 new school buses to municipalities. Fifty-five municipalities will receive the new buses in a ceremony in Vilnius. Twenty-two of the municipalities will be given two buses each. Over the past 17 years, the ministry has purchased 903 such buses, which are used to transport schoolchildren living more than 3 kilometres away from school. The yellow-painted buses drive around 20,000 schoolchildren to and back from school daily.

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